Tag Archives: Detroit Lions

Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions, 12-23-18: In-game report

The Vikings used an old formula to stay in the NFC playoff picture and defeat the Lions on the road.  Minnesota relied on a turnover- free game and a solid defensive effort to beat Detroit, 27-9. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Lions receiving weapons

In 2014, the Lions featured two 1,000-yard receivers in former wideouts Golden Tate III and Calvin Johnson.

The Lions traded away Golden Tate and now lack proven weapons on the outside.  Detroit tried to mask its deficiencies with conservative third down play calling that often featured runs and screens on 3rd and long, but those weren’t effective against a stout Vikings defense.  Kenny Golladay has become a contributor, catching 70 passes for 1,063 yards and five touchdowns on the season.  However, the Vikings began to key in on him and roll coverage his way as he posted just six catches for 58 yards on 15 targets.  Detroit has had its issues with drafting receivers in the past, but the team is in desperate need for playmakers on the outside. 

Vikings offensive gameplan

The formula against the Bears on Sunday will be simple for the Vikings: run the ball and don’t turn it over.  Despite his 29:10 touchdown-to-interception ratio, Cousins has struggled against teams with winning records in his career and this year has been no different.  Last week, the Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo before his first season as coordinator could even come to an end.  Quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski has taken over and he’s been with the team since the mid-2000s, which means he knows traditionally the Vikings bread has been buttered with its run game. Against the Lions, Dalvin Cook carried the ball 16 times for 73 yards and was the go-to man on 3rd and shorts.   Cook and Latavius Murray should both see 10-to-15 carries apiece and Stefanski will probably opt to play a conservative field position game against the stingy Bears defensive front seven.

Minnesota defense 

The Chicago Bears have dominated headlines in the NFC North but the Vikings still have a defense that can be counted upon. Their problem has been at times they have been forced to play perfect football where as in Chicago there’s a little bit more margin for error.  On the season, the Vikings rank in the top ten in passing yards allowed per game, points against and total yards allowed per game.  They also rank 11th in rushing yards allowed per game.  Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, Sheldon Richardson and Tom Johnson have combined to form their own Purple People Eaters group, totaling 29 sacks.  The front end and back end complement each other well in Minnesota and this defense is still a unit to be reckoned with week-to-week. 

Detroit Lions vs. Miami Dolphins, 10-21-18: In-game report

The Miami Dolphins (4-3) missed a chance to keep pace with the New England Patriots in the AFC East after falling to the Detroit Lions (3-3) at home.  The Lions used a stifling secondary and an efficient offensive attack to win the game.  DraftNasty's Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Kerryon Johnson

The rookie running back out of Auburn had his second career 100- yard rushing performance on Sunday. The Lions record would indicate that in order to win, they need production from Johnson. In the team's three wins, Johnson has rushed for 109 yards per game and in their three losses he's averaged 38 yards per game.  On Sunday, Johnson rushed for 158 yards and kept the Lions in favorable down and distances, which resulted in them only having to punt once all afternoon.  Johnson doesn’t just have an impact on the running game but the threat of his running ability has been enough to give quarterback Matthew Stafford, who finished with just four incompletions, cleaner looks on play action passes.  The Lions used Johnson as a decoy to score their first touchdown after Stafford faked the handoff and threw a touchdown to tight end Michael Roberts.  Johnson also gives the Lions a threat in the passing game (15 receptions on the season) and is a willing blocker in pass protection.  If Detroit wants to continue to win against good teams, look for the Lions to rely on Johnson to bring a balance to the offense.

Lions secondary

Slay, Jr. was named a first-team All-Pro in 2017 and has shown few signs of slowing down.

The Lions secondary didn’t force Brock Osweiler into an interception but did play well enough in coverage to help force four sacks and give their team a commanding 20-7 advantage in the second half. Quandre Diggs came down from his safety position to fill in for Jamal Agnew, the team’s regular slot cornerback who is on IR due to a knee injury. Cornerback Darius Slay has continued his All-Pro performance from last season and played well on the outside.  Slay prevented a would-be touchdown to Kenny Stills by bringing his hands through Stills' hands and deflecting the ball away. For the game, Osweiler threw for 239 yards and almost a third of those yards came in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.  Detroit’s secondary is the backbone of their defense and should serve them well against a number of top-tier quarterbacks in the NFC.

Mike Gesicki

DraftNasty highlighted Gesicki’s athleticism in advance of the draft last season and that athletic ability was on display against Detroit. The rookie from Penn State caught passes both as a hand in the ground tight end and when split out wide.  Gesicki did a good job of chipping the defensive end before getting into the right seam and catching a pass in traffic. On another catch, Gesicki caught the ball over the middle on a crossing pattern and flashed his potential for getting yards after the catch.  In total, Gesicki finished with three catches for 44 yards. 

2018 Preview: Florida State Seminoles

Season outlook

First-year head coach Willie Taggart will look to turn around the Florida Seminoles much like he did for the USF Bulls just two seasons ago.  Last season, Taggart led Oregon to a 7-5 record before leaving the Ducks ahead of the team's bowl game.  Former Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher left behind a team with a talented run game and an elite pass rusher.  Senior center Alec Eberle (6'4, 295) has started 32 consecutive games dating back to the 2015 season and is a candidate for the Rimington Trophy this season after being named second team  All-ACC in 2017.  Eberle will help create running paths for sophomore running back Cam Akers (5'11, 213). Akers rushed for 1,024 yards and seven touchdowns on 194 carries in 2017.
FSU DE Brian Burns (No. 99 pictured) has broken up four passes, forced four fumbles and blocked three kicks over the last two seasons for the Seminoles.
Defensively, junior defensive end Brian Burns (6'5, 235) will be asked to continue to cause havoc off the edge.  The Fort Lauderdale native has totaled 14 sacks and 23 tackles for loss over the past two seasons.  Burns is a bona fide NFL prospect as a 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 rush outside linebacker.

Troy's player to watch

1 Levonta Taylor 5'10 186 CB-Junior
Florida State is no stranger to producing cover corners.  Jalen Ramsey, Deion Sanders and Xavier Rhodes are just a few of the names.  Junior cornerback Levonta Taylor has the ability to join the ranks of those Pro Bowlers.
Last season, he finished the season with two interceptions and three pass deflections. The relatively low interception totals are a result of quarterbacks refusing to throw his way. This year, Taylor will get to work with former Michigan State secondary coach Harlon Barnett, who has helped mold several defensive backs into NFL talents like Trae Waynes and Darqueze Dennard.  Despite seeing minimal action, DraftNasty's Troy Jefferson is projecting another season of the Virginia Beach native blanketing one side of the field.

Game of the season 

October 6th against Miami
Miami broke their seven-game losing streak in the longstanding rivalry by defeating Florida State, 24-20, in Tallahassee last year. You can expect Taggart's first order of business is for the Seminoles to regain in-state and conference supremacy. It won't be easy as Miami fields one its best teams since 2000.  Florida State's and Miami's October matchup could resemble some of their classic matchups from the 90s.

DraftNasty's Prospect Watch

90 Demarcus Christmas 6'4 308 DL-Senior

He is one of the toughest interior defensive lineman to latch in the ACC. His tremendous hand-eye coordination is evident when affecting the three-step passing game but just as impressive when it comes to dislodging versus offensive guards.  In a number of ways, he carries some similarities to former Alabama defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson (Detroit Lions).  The big question is whether or not he will become a more disruptive pass rush finisher in 2018.

Prediction: 9-3

Draftnasty's Troy Jefferson is predicting a two-win improvement on last season but a second place finish in the ACC's Atlantic Division. Jefferson is predicting road losses to Miami and Notre Dame and a home loss to Clemson.

2018 NFL Draft Recap, pick-by-pick: NFC North

NFC North

 

Green Bay Packers
Alexander (No. 10 pictured) may be relied upon to work at the nickel back spot for the Packers.

Notable picks: Alexander and Jackson could eventually develop into the two outside starting cornerbacks. Alexander’s ability to return kicks, play outside or in the slot makes him one of the more versatile players in the 2018 NFL Draft. The potential combination of Alexander, Jackson and Kevin King could be game-changing for the Packers secondary.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (18) Jaire

Alexander CB-5’10 196

Louisville 40 (2nd Round) Teams relied heavily on his outstanding 2016 film. Believes in his recipe. Will he play the nickel with Jackson and King on the outside.
2 (45) Josh

Jackson

CB-6’0 196

Iowa 55 (2nd Round) Jackson is used to this part of the country and the elements won’t be a factor. His ball skills will aid a defense which finished 23rd in pass defense.
3 (88) Trade from Carolina Oren

Burks

LB-6’3 233

Vanderbilt 71 (3rd Round) Burks adds another coverage linebacker to a group that needs more on-field speed. The former safety has all of the tools to develop into at least a nickel contributor in Year 1.
4 (133) J’Mon

Moore

WR-6’3 207

Missouri 160 (3rd Round) Moore was the rare SEC wide receiver to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
5 (138) Cole

Madison

OL-6’5 307

Washington St. 127 (3rd Round) Former TE with good feet, durability and tackle experience. While he played RT in school, he could battle former UCF star Justin McCray (8 starts in 2017) for playing time at OG.
5 (172) JK

Scott

P-6’6 208

Alabama 411 (5th Round) Four-year starter who punted and kicked off the ‘Tide. Can be dominant kicking in Domes. Catch-and-kick times average between 1.15 and 1.25 seconds. Reminiscent of former Clemson punter Bradley Pinion.
5 (174) Marquez

Valdes-Scantling

WR-6’4 207

USF 281 (4th Round) Valdes-Scantling built on a good junior campaign with a breakout senior campaign.
6 (207) Equanimeous

St. Brown

WR-6’5 214

Notre Dame 80 (3rd Round) St. Brown probably may have more to give than even the team’s fifth-round pick. Regardless of the team’s QB play, he didn’t finish on the ball as well in 2017.
7 (232) James

Looney

DL-6’3 287

California 243 (4th Round) NFL bloodlines are complemented by a steady diet of lateral quickness and strong hands. He is an inconsistent pass rusher and Tyson Alualu-type.   35 ½” VJ.
7 (239) Hunter

Bradley

LS-6’3 241

Mississippi State N/A (long snappers, page 388 of Corey Chavous’ 2018 Draft Guide) Bradley, a long snapper, ran in the 4.7-range and was a big reason for P Logan Cooke’s success.
7 (248) Kendall

Donnerson

DE-6’3 250

SE Missouri State N/A Donnerson turned heads in private workouts prior to the draft with a 40” VJ and 10’11” BJ.

 

 

Chicago Bears
Smith's ability (No. 3 pictured) to run down plays laterally could increase the speed of an already formidable Bears rush defense.

Notable Pick: Smith could make life painful for opposing running backs as he combines with playmaker Danny Trevathan. He rejoins former Georgia Bulldog teammate Leonard Floyd.   All of the linebackers will have to pay attention to fourth-round pick Joel Iyiebuniwe. He could challenge for playing time.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (8) Roquan

Smith

6’1 236

Georgia 13 (1st Round) Smith’s speed will increase a defensive unit that is going…all the way up.
2 (39) James

Daniels

6’4 295

Iowa 41 (2nd Round) Daniels has he mobility to challenge for a starting offensive guard spot right away. In addition, he is athletic enough to backup at a tackle position.
2 (51) Anthony

Miller

5’11 201

Memphis 43 (2nd Round) Miller’s quickness will open up options on the outside or in the slot. His play speed will make him a major option in the run-pass-option game with Trubisky.
4 (115) Joel

Iyiebuniwe

LB-6’1 229

Western Kentucky 112 (3rd Round) The Bears continue to overhaul their LB corps with a ‘backer who can run and hit.
5 (145) Bilal

Nichols

DT-6’3 306

Delaware 97 (3rd Round) Nichols very easily could have gone higher if not for questions regarding his pad level. He could provide a challenge for DE Jonathan Bullard.
7 (224) Javon

Wims

WR-6’4 215

Georgia,

Belhaven

223 (4th Round) The Bears took a late-round flyer on a player who excelled adjusting to tough passes in 2017. He’s another tall, long wideout in the mold of current Bears Robinson and White. Can he play special teams?

 

 

 

Minnesota Vikings
Carlson connected on 13 field goals of 50 or more yards in school.

Notable pick: Carlson’s ability to hit field goals near the midfield mark will extend the team’s offensive range. Jalen Holmes brings positional versatility to the table and could be a big factor on third downs rushing from an interior line position.   Aruna could become a Day 3 find with his immense level of athleticism.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (29) Mike

Hughes

CB-5’10 183

UCF 16 (2nd Round) Hughes not only offers sub-package immediate potential, he is one of the draft’s best returners.
2 (62) Brian

O’Neill

OT-6’6 298

Pittsburgh 66 (3rd Round) O’Neill has starting potential as a left tackle if he can learn to sit down with more urgency.
4 (102)

 

Jalen

Holmes

DE-6’5 283

Ohio State 156 (3rd Round) Holmes can play up-and-down a defensive front.   He is improving with his hand usage.
5 (167) Daniel

Carlson

PK-6’5 223

Auburn 267 (4th Round) Despite six blocked kicks in school, he kicked 13 field goals of 50 yards or more.
6 (213) Colby

Gossett

OL-6’5 311

Appalachian State 105 (3rd Round) Gossett started 37 games at RG, 8 games at RT and one game at OC in school.
6 (218) Ade

Aruna

OLB-6’5 262

Tulane 219 (3rd Round) Former two-star recruit was much better in 2016 when he stood up as a two-point OLB much of the year.
7 (225) Devante

Downs

LB-6’1 245

California 515 (6th Round) Downs finished his career with 211 tackles and five interceptions despite missing significant time as a senior.   His eye speed makes up for ordinary explosion.

 

Detroit Lions
Johnson's workhorse mentality was complemented with an ability to throw the halfback pass.

Notable picks: Detroit went into this draft with the desire to get more physical on both sides of the ball. They drafted Johnson to run behind Ragnow and then selected the draft’s best blocking fullback in Bawden. Johnson will make-or-break this crop. If he can provide a one-two punch with some of the current Lions backs, it will finally take pressure off of Matthew Stafford.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (20) Frank

Ragnow

C-6’5 307

Arkansas 121 (3rd Round) Ragnow has always carried starter-traits, but leverage can be an issue for him vs. squatty nose guards.
2 (43) Trade from New England Kerryon

Johnson

RB-5’11 213

Auburn 101 (3rd Round) Johnson’s power and stride length make him look like a 6’2 runner on the field. He contains underrated lower body explosiveness at 213 pounds.   Easy mover.
4 (114) from New England Da’Shawn

Hand

DL-6’4 297

Alabama 137 (3rd Round) Hand is a player with heavy hands and an ability to defend the run. He may never be a great pass rusher, but he fits the profile desired on an underrated defensive front.
 
5 (153) Tyrell

Crosby

OT-6’5 319

Oregon 14 (1st Round) Crosby ranks as one of the best steals of the draft.   He may not look the part, but his 11-inch hands and 35-inch arms will make a difference at the right tackle spot.
7 (237) Nick

Bawden

FB-6’2 240

San Diego State 210 (4th Round) Bawden –a former college quarterback- reads through defenses with an ability to seek and destroy.   A true passion player with huge upside as a blocker. He adds substance to the team’s desire to run effectively in December.